Awareness Education

The Unseen Impact of YIPS on Sports


Talking about mental health has always been a difficult topic when discussing with the general public. Yet over the years, mental health awareness has reached a wider audience and people are more open to listening to these matters.

Nevertheless, there are some areas and fields where mental health education is still stigmatized and neglected. Sports is one such field where mental health can still be considered as a stigma, when dealing with mental well-being there has been a recent development when we are talking about the mental well-being of athletes. However, some areas have been fully understood or recognized one such topic is known as the yips.

What are yips?

The term yips is majorly associated with sports, especially baseball and golf. Having core motor skills and coordination is considered the most important thing to have in sports like these. Yips is referred to as a condition when the athlete suddenly experiences a loss of control in their motor skills. These loss of control arise out of unexplained reasons.

Yips have been a subject of great interest and discussion in psychology over the decades. Its effect on the well-being of athletes is concerning since it can have a prolonged negative impact on their career as well as mental health.

Defining the Yips

The yips are a psychological phenomenon where a person encounters involuntary or uncontrolled muscle spasms, jerking, and tremors. It interferes with a person’s ability to perform a specific task that involves motor skills. Most commonly seen in sports it can occur with people doing any kind of task that needs precision and control to do something. It can include an action, such as playing a musical instrument, typing, etc. Anything that needs motor control.

Psychological Factors
1) Anxiety:

Anxiety is considered the key element in triggering yips. Anxiety is considered to disrupt a person’s concentration. In the field of sports, even topics like performance anxiety and failure are still not distinguished from each other. If it’s anxiety it is considered as a shortcoming
from the athlete side.

Excessive anxiety or self-consciousness might disrupt one’s motor control hence triggering
the yips.

2) Psychological Trauma:

Experiencing any kind of traumatic incident can have a huge impact on a person’s mind. It deeply affects a person’s overall well-being and impacts their mental and emotional state.

Experiencing events such as accidents, crime, the death of a beloved person or family member or disasters can cause a lifelong negative effect on the mind that doesn’t go away easily.

Prolonged periods of untreated psychological trauma could cause the development of yips and in turn, affect their performance.

3) Overthinking:

Overthinking is considered a hindrance most of the time, even among common people. Due to overthinking a person thinks too much and overwhelms themselves, which leads to an endless loop of confusion that disrupts one’s productivity in life. Overthinking can lead to triggering you because of the tension created by too much thinking, hence a person tends to lose focus and control. It can also cause muscle tension and spasms in the body that can affect our motor skills.

Treatments and Coping Strategies to deal with the yips:
1) Psychological Interventions:

Athletes and other people suffering from the yips could reach out to mental health professionals to deal with their issues. Seeking therapy would help them deal with performance anxiety.

Interventions would treat their psychological issues related to self-esteem. A Professional like a therapist could provide an assessment of your condition and provide methods to develop strategies and reduce the occurrence of yips.

2) Physical Training:

Certain cases of yips can be managed with regular physical training to improve muscle control. When practiced for longer periods conditioning and exercise can improve muscle memory and enhance one’s coordination and motor skills.

3) Biofeedback:

Biofeedback is a technique through which we can have a more clear awareness of our body functions such as breathing, hearing capacity, etc Using biofeedback therapy can help to provide better insight and control over one’s body. Awareness about bodily function can
people regulate their muscles to gain more control over their muscles.

4) Practice Relaxation Techniques: 

Meditation and mindfulness training would help reduce the overwhelming feelings of anxiety caused by the performance. Practicing deep breathing exercises helps to reduce anxiety, and stress, and promote mental calmness. All the relaxation techniques could help manage the
The mental well-being of a person to deal with the yips.

Yips are a very complex psychological phenomenon that is concerning for any person, especially in the lives of athletes. Sports is a daunting and challenging profession that requires dedication, hard work, and resilience, Every single performance, whether of an athlete, musician, or any other professional field determines their career which can be either destroyed or boosted into stardom in the blink of an eye. However, its significance exceeds
In the physical realm of the stadium, a sportsman has to face the public and the media that take note of their every single action. A slight mistake caused by the yip could cause them a lifetime of consequences that could take a whole toll on their physical and mental well-being. The Yips are still a poorly understood phenomenon that needs further research understanding a person’s psychological distress is really necessary to maintain their well-being along with coping strategies.

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